Ramah Darom Inspires the Next Generation of Jewish Autism Researchers and Educators

Ramah Darom4.12.13
This Autism Awareness Month, Ramah Darom is recognizing how Camp Yofi, its family camp for Jewish families with children with autism, is inspiring its campers and staffers to give back to the community.

Atlanta, Georgia (PRWEB) April 12, 2013 – Designed to provide families with special needs children ages six through 13 with a unique, life-changing experience, 12 years after its inception Camp Yofi is influencing a population slightly older than its founders originally intended: its staff.

At the end of each summer, Camp Ramah Darom in Clayton, Georgia, invites some of its most experienced staff members to stay an extra week to run its Camp Yofi program, a nationally-acclaimed family camp for Jewish families with autism spectrum disorder. At the end of the week, participating parents remark on how the experience provided them and their children with impactful programming, life-long friendships and a sense of community. And today, as the first Camp Yofi staff members are entering their college years and launching their careers, they, too, are finding that the experience has lasting effects on them as well.

“Camp Yofi staff members identify qualities in themselves they didn’t know they had,” said Susan Kabot, Ed.D., Director of Clinical Programs at Nova Southeastern University, which partners with Ramah Darom to offer the program. “A number of our staff have changed course in their careers to enter into special education, psychology and other related professions.”

Camp Yofi staff members are enrolled in special education doctoral programs, conducting autism research at leading educational institutions, and are teaching in Jewish day schools and Hebrew schools throughout the United States.

“Camp Yofi helped me discover my true calling in life,” said Jessica Birch, a Camp Yofi staff member from Atlanta, Georgia. “After graduating with a general education degree, I switched tracks for my masters degree to specialize in Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. I have been working in New York City for the past four years at a center that provides applied behavior therapy and am now a senior therapist. I truly love what I do and enjoy going to work each and every day providing therapy to children with autism,” Jessica said.

Camp Yofi is designed for families with children with autism between the of ages six and 13, and will take place at Camp Ramah Darom August 7-11, 2013. Single parents, grandparents and siblings are invited to attend, and all Jewish families are welcome, regardless of denomination or synagogue affiliation. With a 1-to-1 staff ratio and a strong emphasis on safety, Camp Yofi provides an unmatched experience for families who otherwise would be limited in their ability to take a family vacation due to the challenges autism presents. Thanks to the generous support of sponsoring foundations and individual donors, Camp Yofi is designed to be affordable to any family wishing to participate. Participation in Camp Yofi is limited to 25 families, and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about Camp Yofi or to register, visit Camp Yofi.

About Ramah Darom

Ramah Darom (Ramah of the South) is a nationally-acclaimed Jewish overnight camp and retreat center in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Clayton, Georgia. Ramah Darom’s mission is to offer exceptional experiences in Jewish living and learning to youth, adults, families and communities year-round. For more information, visit ramahdarom.org.